A/N: Thought I'd try my hand at a little Superboy/Robin bonding/angst/oh-dear-someone's gonna-get-hurt scenario; granted it could be somewhat feeble. But I'll let you decide. This is not a slash, I don't write slash, this is purely friendship. Also, Artemis isn't in this one (sad, I know) I thought of it before she was on the show and didn't have the patience to try and write her in. (Artemis Crock, anyone else catch that, hmm)
Disclaimer: Someday, DC, someday . . . (wanders off mumbling to herself)
It started when he saw Superman pat Robin on the shoulder and smile at the young boy.
Batman had come to give them a mission based in Metropolis and Superman was there to help with the briefing, looking awkward as heck, Superboy noted, standing in the same briefing room with his clone. He was pretty sure Bats had dragged his fellow hero there, if anything, just to remind him that Superboy wasn't going away, that he still existed.
Superboy appreciated Batman's effort, but he didn't want his sort-of father held at gunpoint, so to speak, just to come near him.
That aside, the mission was simple enough, guard a shipment (thankfully, no psycho, mimicking robots this time) of chemicals to STAR Labs.
"We're really just being safe," Superman said, "There's been someone sabotaging the deliveries for unknown reasons. Wrecking the vans, stealing; they're in need of more than the usual protection."
"And you won't be following as discretely this time," Batman cut in, "I want you split into two teams, one will be riding in and alongside the truck, the other will be waiting at the delivery point in the lab's basement garage. Aqualad, you can decide the teams. Do so quickly the truck leaves in a few hours."
Kaldur nodded and turned to his team as Batman and Superman walked a few feet away to talk about whatever it is adults talk about when they don't want kids in earshot.
"Wally and Megan," Kaldur glanced at them as he said their names, "You're with me, we'll stay with the truck," at this Wally grinned at being teamed up with Megan, "Superboy and Robin, we'll meet you in the garage. You should leave now and contact us if you see anything suspicious and we'll reroute."
Robin nodded and, smiling, turned to Superboy, "One sec, okay? I gotta ask Bats something." Superboy shrugged and the kid ran off towards the senior heroes. He was actually kind of glad he got Robin as a partner, he liked the boy. He wasn't nearly as irritating as Kid Flash, no matter how many strange words he threw out, and working with Miss Martian made him . . . nervous for some reason.
So, basically, he had been alright with working with Robin. Until he saw the kid talk to Superman, that is. Superboy had been listening to Kaldur spell out a few more details when he glanced back over at Robin.
He didn't hear what was said, despite his excellent hearing, since he wasn't paying attention, but whatever Robin had said to Superman, when he turned from talking to his own mentor, made the Man of Steel smile, even laugh a little. As if that wasn't enough, the man in blue actually reached out and ruffled the boy's ebony hair and patted his shoulder, muttering something in response, Robin grinning back up at him, like he would an uncle.
Superboy didn't really hear what Kaldur was saying as Robin walked back toward the group; he was too busy trying to calm the sudden, and to himself unexplainable, rage he felt. Toward Robin, no less. The clone didn't even register the Bat's penetrating gaze on him.
Robin finally trotted back up to his partner, "Ready to go, Supes? We're taking the motorcycles . . ." his voice trailed away when he saw the strange look on Superboy's face, "You okay?" he asked, tilting his head to the side, his friendly smile fading.
Superboy realized what he was doing and forced the look off his face. This was Robin, his teammate and friend, why was he angry? "I'm fine," he lied, "Let's go or the truck will have arrived already."
The drive to the basement garage was quiet, and the quick search of said garage was quieter. Superboy simply didn't trust himself to speak; he was preoccupied with the scene back at Mt. Justice playing over and over in his head and the monster that seemed to be sitting in his chest clawing at his stomach. Robin kept throwing him looks, obviously curious about what had put his friend in a mood, but not enough to bring it up.
"I'll take a look over there," Superboy finally said, stalking farther into the garage. He didn't wait for Robin's answer, just walked over to the few other delivery vans still sitting, empty, in their places. They hadn't found any sign of sabotage, which was best, because Superboy was still rather distracted.
Why had it bothered him so much? He knew Robin was well acquainted with Superman, he was the longest running sidekick after all and Batman and Superman were both founding members of the JL. He guessed he just didn't realize how well acquainted they were. But then why had he gotten so angry? Big deal, Robin's known Superman longer than he had, who didn't –
"Superboy! Get down!" Superboy broke from his thoughts at his teammate's frantic shout and turned to see Robin running full force toward him and then a deafening explosion knocked them both off their feet.
Immediately as he came to, well, as soon as he managed to remember what had happened, Superboy was thankful for super strength. Not only had it protected him from being severely injured, it allowed him to push several large chunks of cement and metal beams, that a few seconds ago had been the garage, off him. Unfortunately it did nothing to help with the dust clouding his vision and breathing or the headache.
He tried to shout through the coughing, "R - (cough) - Robin!" No answer. Crap. "Robin! Can you hear me?" Obviously not. He thought when, again, there was no answer. He pushed a few more scattered pieces of debris out of his way as he headed in the direction he'd seen Robin before the explosion.
"Come on. Where are you?" the clone muttered mostly to himself, the fear in his stomach growing with each step. Superboy started walking around a pile of rubble, "The Bat's gonna kill me if you end up –" He heard a soft groan right where his next step was going to land and he quickly looked down.
It was Robin, but Superboy wasn't as relieved as he thought he would be to find the boy. Robin was lying face down on the hard concrete floor, a gash in his head that went from his left eyebrow to his temple, which accounted for his being out cold still. Superboy tried not to panic as he immediately moved the only object that was still over the hacker, a metal beam that had been supporting the structure. It had both hurt and protected him it seemed, deflecting other debris from him, but had pinned his leg. It was still pretty lucky though.
Robin released a sharp gasp as the pressure came off his leg, and when Superboy looked down at the appendage it was sitting at a sickening angle.
"Robin," Superboy reached down and put a hand on the boy's shoulder, "Rob, wake up."
He sighed in relief when Robin stirred and the movement behind his mask indicated his eyes opening, "Mmnph, what happened?"
"Just don't move, okay? Your leg's . . . messed up," the clone said, trying not to panic the boy. If he really didn't remember what happened he could have a concussion.
"Yeah," Robin gasped, wincing, "I c-caught that on my own, thanks."
Superboy decided to ignore the irritation that rose up from the sarcasm in light of the circumstances, taking it as a blessing that Rob was coherent enough to use it, "Do you really not remember what happened?"
Robin, still lying on his stomach (Superboy was afraid to move him yet), replied hesitantly, "I remember . . . f-finding the bomb nex-next to the door," he let out a pained sigh, "we're trapped aren't we?" he asked.
Superboy honestly hadn't thought of that yet, "Uh . . . wait here."
"Not going anywhere," Robin mumbled as the clone ran to where the entrance had been . . . emphasis on had. The entrance where the truck would have driven in with the deliveries was demolished. It would take hours for the clone to dig them out by himself. Then he remembered another entrance, the elevators and staircase that led up to the labs.
He ran there, in a hurry to get back to Robin, but stopped abruptly when he nearly ran into another wall of fallen concrete and metal. He growled in frustration when he couldn't find a way around it, realizing whoever did this had set up a bomb by the only other entrance/exit as well.
He had just started back to Robin when he heard the said boy's strangled cry.
When he finally got back in view of the little hacker he saw that Robin had tried to turn himself over, but collapsed back on his stomach, breathing heavily and coughing.
"What are you doing? Have you lost your mind?" Superboy asked, more harshly than he meant to, as he knelt down by his partner, "I told you not to move."
"W-well, it was get-getting hard to b-breathe," Robin said breathlessly.
Superboy sighed and, again, did his best to swallow his frustration, "Then let me help you. This is going to hurt enough without you trying to do it on your own." Robin nodded and Superboy knelt and managed to get him rolled over, the smaller boy's face twisted with pain the whole time, but he was breathing better now.
There was just one more problem, "I'm going to have to reset your leg," Superboy said. He was pretty sure a human leg wasn't supposed to bend in that particular spot.
"Just get it over with," Robin groaned. Superboy did as he was told and wrapped his hands around the break. When he felt the bone set into place he also heard Robin shout and punch him in the arm – hard.
"OW! What was that for?" the clone glared at the kid. Little brat had a good arm.
"Sorry, I just had to hit something and you were closest," Robin said through clenched teeth, "I feel really sick," he said more quietly.
"Then it's definitely a concussion," Superboy replied, eyeing the cut that was still seeping blood down his partner's face, and sat down next to him on the cold floor, "the entrances are blocked, by the way, both of them," he continued, pulling off his jacket, folding it up and placing it behind Robin's head.
The hacker smiled at his gesture, weakly, then frowning as he stated, "They either knew we were here, or meant for it to be the shipment that got buried," Robin grimaced and reached for the communicator in his belt, flipping it open, "no reception to call the others either," he sighed and closed his eyes.
"Don't fall asleep!" Superboy said suddenly, startling the smaller boy, making him jump and wince, "You could go into a coma or something . . ." he trailed off when he realized Robin smiling at him, amused, "What?"
"I'm pretty sure that's a myth, Supes, but if it makes you feel better, I'll stay awake, okay?" Robin replied, still smirking.
Superboy didn't really like being patronized, but he wasn't taking any chances, "Sure," there was a pause and he spoke again, "So, we just wait?"
"They'll figure it out eventually."
Superboy huffed and tore a strip of cloth off his shirt.
"What's that for?" Robin asked absently.
"Your head," the other replied and proceeded to, gently as possible, tie the makeshift bandage around Robin's head. The kid was unnaturally pail, or maybe it was just the lighting . . .
"Why is it that nearly every time we go on a mission your shirt gets ripped?" Robin suddenly asked, and the clone noticed how the boy was sounding a little ditsy, slurring his words.
Must be the head trauma, Superboy thought before mumbling, "No idea."
It was quiet a few moments. Then out of the blue again Robin asked, "You mad at me?"
It took a second for Superboy to register the question, "Uh . . . no . . . why?"
Robin studied him for a moment and said, "You've been giving me the cold shoulder since we left and back at the mountain you looked really ticked about something . . ."
"Oh, that," Superboy cut in. The boy couldn't remember an explosion, but he could remember that? He'd completely forgotten his unreasonable anger. Great, he thought, now I have guilt, "That . . . wasn't you, exactly . . . it was nothing, just forget it okay?" the clone said aloud. He didn't want to get into this with Robin, it was so illogical, and Rob was all about logic.
"If you don't want me to fall asleep, you gotta talk to me," Robin responded sleepily, tapping Superboy's knee with his elbow. At least he wasn't gasping anymore, "Come on. What'd I do –?"
He was cut off by Superboy's angry retort, "Just drop it, will you?" The vision of Superman smiling down at the Bat's protégé had flashed in front of his eyes again as Robin pried. It only helped to renew his anger.
He knew he'd gone too far when the half-conscious Robin shrank away from him, suddenly looking very uncomfortable and alert. He'd startled the kid into defense.
"I'm not angry with you," Superboy said quickly, attempting to make his comrade relax.
"Could have fooled me," Robin said, still eyeing him warily.
Superboy backtracked, "Okay, I was mad at you . . . sort of . . . I don't . . . it's hard to explain," he ran a hand through his hair, really wishing he could just hit something. Hitting was much easier for him than 'talking things out' as Megan put it.
He looked back down at Robin, who had at least relaxed back against his jacket but was still giving him a worried frown. As Superboy stared an idea started to form in his head, just barely there, an answer to why he was angry at the little hacker. It was frustratingly slow coming.
"Dude, now you're just freakin' me out," Robin said, groggy again, "What are you staring at?"
"He talks to you," the clone said quietly, barely acknowledging Robin's concerned look.
"Who . . . ?" the boy looked seriously perplexed and frustrated now, trying to follow the conversation in a pained and lethargic state, "Look, no offense, but my head and leg really hurt, I feel like I'm gonna hurl and you're not making any – " He paused, murmured, "Crap," rolled away from Superboy and, as if on cue, threw-up everything in his stomach.
The clone was at his side in seconds, supporting his shoulders all the while. Finally, Robin took a shaky breath and turned back, his arm over his mouth. He had disturbed his leg, but it was still set, thankfully. Superboy noticed Robin's trembling, however.
"Feel better?" Superboy asked.
"Not really," the hacker croaked miserably, "Now explain what you were muttering about."
Superboy sighed, "Not if it was irritating you . . ."
"The headache and shooting pain in my leg are irritating me way more. It'll help take my mind off of it," Robin interrupted.
The clone resisted the urge to palm his forehead and did his best to pick up where he left off, if only to get Rob off his back about it. Never start something with a Bat that you're unwilling to finish, "He . . . talks to you," he repeated.
"You said that already," Superboy could practically hear the eyes rolling behind Robin's mask, "And I know a lot of 'he's. Little more specific?"
Superboy paused, "Superman," he stated, rather surprised at the misery in his own voice.
Rob gave him a quizzical look, "Sup – Oh," realization replaced confusion, "I see," he cocked his head in that peculiar way he did and studied Superboy, "You got jealous."
Superboy started sputtering, "What – that's just – I am not . . ." he stopped, seeing Robin give him a really weird look, somewhere between amusement and pity. He could smack the little guy for laughing at his expense and he truly hated pity. He sighed, too tired to be angry anymore, especially at Robin. Plus, not that he would admit it if his life depended on it, but his friend was right.
Instead he blurted out, "Why can't he just talk to me?" He almost laughed, staring across the destroyed garage, "He can't even seem to look at me without cringing," he looked back down at Robin, waiting for . . . he didn't know. An answer, some great revelation maybe?
The acrobat gave him a sleepy smile, having listened to the short rant quietly, and said slowly, as if choosing his words very carefully, "You know, back when I first met Batman, I didn't think he liked me very much either."
Superboy didn't say anything. It wasn't often Robin talked about Batman, unless it was to repeat another of the man's (many) rules.
When his friend said nothing, Robin continued, "He hardly talked to me, barely looked at me . . . and I had no idea why. It turned out he had a good reason, but it still hurt," he paused and looked up at Superboy, who was still trying to see where his friend was going with this, "He came around," Robin finished simply, shrugging.
Superboy sat thinking for a moment before saying, "So, you're saying you think Superman will come around?"
Robin just shrugged again (wincing) and said, "I'm saying Superman's being a jerk . . . actually, he's being worse than a jerk, but I'm not allowed to use that word. But, just so you know, I've known him a long time, and it's really not like him. So, yes, I do think he'll come around."
He offered Superboy a groggy smile and Superboy returned it, reaching out to readjust the make-shift bandage on the younger's head. The cut had stopped bleeding at least.
When he leaned back to his former position, he said, "So, Rob, does that mean the Bat's not actually your – " He stopped when he looked back down at his friend. Eyes closed, breathing deep.
"Hope that coma thing really is a myth," he said to no one in particular, just as he heard commotion where the garage door supposedly still was. "Right on time," he said, glancing at his partner. He leaned over and picked him up, gently as possible, so as not to wake him, and carried him to the spot where the others would most likely come through.
Despite everything, he really was glad he got Robin as his partner.
A/N: Yes, I just shoved two characters into a cramped situation where they had to talk things out. I couldn't resist. And like every show ever has never done it . . . but I digress.
This turned out a thousand times longer than I thought it would. And, yeah, I did think of breaking it into chapters, but I'm terrible about updating, so it's just a really long one-shot.
I'm good with humorous type fluff, not so much the serious type bonding sort of thing, so, please let me know if I should never do this again.
Thanks for reading. I'll shut up now . . .